Should You Use a Nipple Shield Breastfeeding?

If your infant has a tight frenulum (tight tongue attachment) and/or nipple pain or sores, you may find that using a nipple shield can help. Some research shows that nipple shield breastfeeding can help infants with these issues latch and nurse better. A nipple shield can also be used temporarily to help with a nipple condition such as inverted or flat nipples, engorgement and/or painful nipples. If a nipple condition is diagnosed, a visit with an Ear-Nose & Throat specialist or Pediatric Dentist can be helpful in determining the best treatment plan.

If you are considering using a nipple shield, it is important that it fits well. A nipple shield that is too small can cause the shield to rub against the nipple and restrict milk flow. A nipple shield that doesn’t fit can lead to the infant pulling off of the shield and a poor latch.

To get the most benefit from a nipple shield, stretch the ‘brim’ of the shield and then place it centrally over the nipple and onto the breast. This will draw some of the nipple and areola into the crown of the shield as you release the stretch. Some nipple shields have ‘cut-outs’ in the center of the shield which are especially useful to encourage the infant to attach.

While some infants are able to use a nipple shield while others will only feed with their mother’s nipple, breastfeeding experts agree that the use of a nipple shield is not necessary for healthy breastfeeding. A nipple shield should only be used as needed to help resolve difficulties that interfere with the mother’s ability to produce and/or consume enough milk. nipple shield breastfeeding

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